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kevinh

Engine Starting Question

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I'm very keen to buy the DC-6B. I'm very interested in engine starting and engine management and this seems an ideal sim to enjoy that process with four big piston engines. One thing is bothering me. One of Kyle's beta videos seemed to show engine starting was partly automated (multiple switches being moved together because you only have one mouse input). Is this still the case in the final release? Is it possible to mismanage the start, as you can in an A2A sim? Does the starting model rely on correct priming? Can you do the "count the blades then switch on ignition" process or is igntion switched automatically?

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Is this still the case in the final release?

 

Yep. Possibly, maybe, perhaps considering changing it up in a future update, but that is not for certain.

(For future passers-by - note that this is not a promise that anything will change!)

 

 

 


Is it possible to mismanage the start, as you can in an A2A sim?

 

Not in as much detail, but the DC-6 engine start is much more reliable than one would imagine. We spent time in V5-NCG and recorded many starts without much trouble. Granted, radials are a different animal, and if they're cold, they can be as stubborn as my late grandmother, and even more so depending on the specific engine. Still, it definitely wasn't as much of 

 

 

 


Does the starting model rely on correct priming?

 

Because the switches are currently combined, no, but it's less of a dark art in the 6.

 

 

 


Can you do the "count the blades then switch on ignition" process or is igntion switched automatically?

 

Currently automatic.

 

Having watched many starts in the 3, and videos of starts in the 6, there is a lot going on at that time. One guy has his hands on the starter pack, another has his head partially out the window counting blades aloud, someone's grabbing the mags and fuel controls, and in the 6, yet another is added into that mix. In quick succession, the starter pack must be worked, the ignition must be cut over to both, the mixture must be brought in, and blades must be counted. As a single person in a sim, that's unmanageable, which is why this approach was chosen. There may be room to improve the realism in the procedure, while still making it manageable, but I think that will require much more investigation to find a reasonable sweet spot.

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Thanks for the explanation!

 

I'm looking forward to that "Possibly, maybe, perhaps considering".

 

It won't be manageable with keyboard and mouse, but with a CH throttle quadrant (six levers and 6 two-way toggle switches) it becomes quite manageable for a single pilot. 

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Yep. Possibly, maybe, perhaps considering changing it up in a future update, but that is not for certain.

 

(For future passers-by - note that this is not a promise that anything will change!)

 

"terms and conditions apply" :lol:

 

 

Thanks Kyle, for the detailed and honest answers. I think if PMDG allowed separate control of mixture and ignition it should be possible to achieve a more realistic manual start, as long as XPlane allows you to maintain spring loaded switches on in the way FSX does (I'm not sure about this as an XPlane newbie). Alternatively keyboard shortcuts could be used for your non-mouse hand to control ignition at least, even if mixture has to be preset.

 

I think that combining multiple switches with one mouse action is too simplified, so I hope PMDG decides to change it soon, or make it a user option. It makes engine starting too straightforward. It would be nice if needing correct priming was a feature too but that's more of a "nice to have" for me.

 

I'm going to wait for user videos to start appearing before committing to buy this beast. I'd like to see what the engine start looks like in external view, for example.

 

Cheers

 

Edit: I just watched your preview video again (New Features Part 2). It looks like it's possible to control ignition and mixture separately already. Is that correct? That would make a more manual procedure possible with keyboard shortcuts.

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I think that combining multiple switches with one mouse action is too simplified, so I hope PMDG decides to change it soon, or make it a user option. It makes engine starting too straightforward.


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I was wondering this myself, I tried following the operation manual to bring the aircraft from Cold & Dark to engines started, and this was the one area that you cannot follow the correct procedure.  In fact, if the ignition switch is off, the engine doesn't even turn over. (blades don't spin at all.)  So the ignition switch has to be on both before pressing the start buttons.

 

Not a huge deal, I'm enjoying the aircraft anyway, but it could have been a nice touch considering other competition and price.

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In fact, if the ignition switch is off, the engine doesn't even turn over. (blades don't spin at all.) So the ignition switch as to be on both before pressing the start buttons.

That's disappointing. This must surely count as a bug. At the very least the ignition switch should be taken out of the starter motor logic.

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I think that combining multiple switches with one mouse action is too simplified, so I hope PMDG decides to change it soon, or make it a user option. It makes engine starting too straightforward.

 

Fully agreed. I was a bit shocked when I tried to start the engines and couldn't move the switches individually. Right now, you can just select mixture to auto rich, magnetos on, press the button(s) and watch the engines start. No different than pressing Ctrl+E in FSX, really. It feels wrong and, worse, cheap.

PMDG, please fix this.

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In fact, if the ignition switch is off, the engine doesn't even turn over. (blades don't spin at all.)

 

This was an effort to prevent the prop from moving in the wind, due to how X-Plane models life.

 

That's disappointing. This must surely count as a bug. At the very least the ignition switch should be taken out of the starter motor logic.

 

See above.

 

Fully agreed. I was a bit shocked when I tried to start the engines and couldn't move the switches individually. Right now, you can just select mixture to auto rich, magnetos on, press the button(s) and watch the engines start. No different than pressing Ctrl+E in FSX, really. It feels wrong and, worse, cheap.

PMDG, please fix this.

 

How many of you have seen a 6 get started? What are you expecting here?

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This was an effort to prevent the prop from moving in the wind, due to how X-Plane models life.

 

 

See above.

 

 

How many of you have seen a 6 get started? What are you expecting here?

I've not been anywhere near a real one but I've seen videos of DC-6 starts. I do know it isn't a one button operation and that switching the ignition on before cranking the engine over is not the done thing.

 

The thing is this has been described as a very deep simulation, but one of the most interesting aspects of aircraft operation is very simplified. I understand the reasons, amd accept this might be the only compromise made, but there must be another way to stop the prop windmilling on ground than switching ignition on. Simplified procedures and multiple switches moving with one input is not really what I expected from PMDG.

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but one of the most interesting aspects of aircraft operation is very simplified.

 

Right...but last I checked you only have one mouse, and only one pair of eyes. The real thing requires 4-6 hands and at least two pairs of eyes.

 

 

 


but there must be another way to stop the prop windmilling on ground than switching ignition on.

 

There is. Just made it more bulletproof than it needed to be.

 

 

 


Simplified procedures and multiple switches moving with one input is not really what I expected from PMDG.

 

I'll re-state the earlier question:

You don't have 4-6 hands all in single mouse clicks, and the ability to reach around to feel out switches while looking out the window counting blades, so...what are we looking for here?

 

I'm all for taking ideas from the forum and passing them on to the devs who can make the changes, but I can't just show up with "hey, the forum wants you to change it...somehow...I'm not sure how...but more reals?"

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How many of you have seen a 6 get started? What are you expecting here?

 

Something not too different to what A2A provided with the B377, eight years ago, in an outdated 32-bit sim, in a less expensive product?

 

I realise that comment is not fair, as you guys have undoubtedly put a huge amount of time and effort into the DC-6 - and for the most part the result is outstanding. But it's a shame when something good is let down by small details, and as customers the best we can do is to request a change in these small details.

In the X-Plane community there's a long history of developers listening to customer's requests, evaluating them, and eventually implementing a change into their product - sometimes quite dramatic ones. The result is almost always a better product as well as happy customers that are willing to pay for future releases from these developers. That's the kind of cooperation that makes flight sim better, and I hope that PMDG is no exception.

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How many of you have seen a 6 get started? What are you expecting here?

 

Please don't use that as an excuse.  Your company prides itself on realism, not only that, but PMDG's reputation is so great because of your attention to detail about most minor systems.  So when we ask about said realism, that's your answer?  How many of us have flown a 777?  Should you then not bother modeling certain minor systems that us simmers would never experience in real life anyway?   

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I'll re-state the earlier question:

You don't have 4-6 hands all in single mouse clicks, and the ability to reach around to feel out switches while looking out the window counting blades, so...what are we looking for here?

 

I'm all for taking ideas from the forum and passing them on to the devs who can make the changes, but I can't just show up with "hey, the forum wants you to change it...somehow...I'm not sure how...but more reals?"

 

Currently, you have a "Realistic Start Enabled" option.  If enabled, you could allow simmers with the proper hardware and assigned switches to start the engines as per Operating Manual.  They might need the hardware to do it, but that's why an option works.  As for looking out the window, maybe a "Picture In Picture" view of the prop starting, if not that, maybe just a sound que.

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Something not too different to what A2A provided with the B377, eight years ago, in an outdated 32-bit sim, in a less expensive product?

 

Ouch...bit heavy handed there, don't you think?

 

I see how their procedure makes you feel a little more involved, though.

 

Please don't use that as an excuse.  Your company prides itself on realism, not only that, but PMDG's reputation is so great because of your attention to detail about most minor systems.  So when we ask about said realism, that's your answer?  How many of us have flown a 777?  Should you then not bother modeling certain minor systems that us simmers would never experience in real life anyway?   

 

I was honestly asking what people envision as an alternative because complete realism is literally impossible here. Your argument is an apples to oranges comparison: it's feasible to model systems to incredible depth because of how those systems exist in the real world - e.g. panel shake based on "harmonics" that don't actually exist in the sim, but can be simulated using some sim variables and some math; it is impossible to start a DC-6 properly by yourself - on the computer, or in the real world. As such, I posed the question to the forum to see what people are looking for. So far, apart from snark and thinly muted anger, I have nothing to bring back to the team.

 

The other comment about the 777 is also a false comparison: again, a 777 start can reasonably be accomplished by a single person.

 

 

 

Seriously guys...this is really simple:

 

"I don't like the start procedure of the DC-6. I wish that it was set up like ____." Fill in the blank without the snark. I can't guarantee that anything will happen, but at least people will know what you all are looking for.

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I'd like to congratulate PMDG on their product. I do understand that some guys are looking to get very involved in certain procedures, but I also see things from Kyle's perspective. This is PMDG's entry into x-plane and I'm sure you will continue to see detailed aircraft like those in FSX if they continue down the x-plane track. Just like real pilots we complain and moan about certain things, but we have to keep perspective as we move forward. I think PMDG did a great job balancing the aircraft to meet a good range of the xplane community. When I look at the development for FSX compared to xplane, we still have a ways to go and it's great to have PMDG jump in the mix. I'm sure that updates will continue after this release, and maybe you will get what you are looking for. They worked hard on it and I see they were able to get around the ground effect issue(my gripe with xplane). Again, congrats on your entry into the xplane world.

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"I don't like the start procedure of the DC-6. I wish that it was set up like ____." Fill in the blank without the snark. I can't guarantee that anything will happen, but at least people will know what you all are looking for.

 

I'll give it a try and make a suggestion:

 

- make the "safety" and the "start" switches toggle-able (independently). Make the "prime" and "boost" switches independent from the others as well but not toggle-able (just "click and hold").

 

- Now, the user can first toggle the "safety" switch to "on" before proceeding.

 

- Actually starting the engines would happen by pressing (and holding) prime for a few seconds, then toggling the start switch to "on", waiting for a couple of seconds for the props to turn, then enabling the magnetos.

 

- I'm not 100% sure about the correct use of the "boost" switch, but I believe it should be used immediately after the engine fires? If so, you would just press & hold it after enabling the magnetos.

 

- After the engine has started, the safety and start switches could either snap back automatically or require the user to toggle them back to their original position.

 

 

I think it's not necessary to require the "correct" amount of priming or the correct time for the props turning over - such things would be nice to have but not essential. As long as the user follows the correct procedure the engines could start fine.

 

 

Anyway, it's getting a bit late here and I'm thinking that maybe we shouldn't take all of this too seriously. But still, the DC-6 already is a fine aircraft and if there's a chance to improve things it would be a shame not to take it... :smile:

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I'll give it a try and make a suggestion:

 

- make the "safety" and the "start" switches toggle-able (independently). Make the "prime" and "boost" switches independent from the others as well but not toggle-able (just "click and hold").

 

- Now, the user can first toggle the "safety" switch to "on" before proceeding.

 

- Actually starting the engines would happen by pressing (and holding) prime for a few seconds, then toggling the start switch to "on", waiting for a couple of seconds for the props to turn, then enabling the magnetos.

 

- I'm not 100% sure about the correct use of the "boost" switch, but I believe it should be used immediately after the engine fires? If so, you would just press & hold it after enabling the magnetos.

 

- After the engine has started, the safety and start switches could either snap back automatically or require the user to toggle them back to their original position.

 

 

I think it's not necessary to require the "correct" amount of priming or the correct time for the props turning over - such things would be nice to have but not essential. As long as the user follows the correct procedure the engines could start fine.

 

 

Anyway, it's getting a bit late here and I'm thinking that maybe we shouldn't take all of this too seriously. But still, the DC-6 already is a fine aircraft and if there's a chance to improve things it would be a shame not to take it... :smile:

Interesting this could work. I think having several options would be nice at least. Maybe a fully realistic mode where all the switches can be assigned then what you suggest followed by the current system and then the simplified procedures?

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Anyway, it's getting a bit late here and I'm thinking that maybe we shouldn't take all of this too seriously.

 

Well, in some forums / websites the DC-6 is already called a flop / write-off (I don't know the correct translation for the German word "Reinfall" ...) by some users, while others say they had only a "rather moderate impression" . At the .org forum, someone called it lackluster. They all refer tothe simplified engine start (and some other things like sound), maybe re-thinking about the engine start is at least interesting. I'm sure there could be a user-friendly solution found -- your suggestion sounds like a good start...

 

It would be a pity if this otherwise very detailed aircraft would get bad user reviews just because everybody focuses on the simplified engine start procedure and forgets that all the systems indeed exist and work...

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Well, in some forums / websites the DC-6 is already called a flop / write-off (I don't know the correct translation for the German word "Reinfall" ...) by some users, while others say they had only a "rather moderate impression" . At the .org forum, someone called it lackluster. They all refer tothe simplified engine start (and some other things like sound), maybe re-thinking about the engine start is at least interesting. I'm sure there could be a user-friendly solution found -- your suggestion sounds like a good start...

 

It would be a pity if this otherwise very detailed aircraft would get bad user reviews just because everybody focuses on the simplified engine start procedure and forgets that all the systems indeed exist and work...

I'd hate to think what the reaction would have been if itbwas as buggy as the IXEG on release...?

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I'd hate to think what the reaction would have been if itbwas as buggy as the IXEG on release...?

 

Better not imagine that ;-) I think many users were expecting the "perfect" aircraft, where EVERYTHING is 110%, simply because it's PMDG. Although everybody should have known by now that the DC-6 is some kind of experiment.

 

Well, even I was a bit disappointed about the outside textures (esp. how the metal looks, which have others done better, even without reflections) and the sounds (no change in sound volume when the cockpit window is opened on the ground while engines are running?) But these issues are no real issues. The DC-6 is still a very good product, not only for X-Plane, but in general.

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I hope the few gripes I (we) have with this aircraft don't overshadow the aircraft as a whole.  So far I think it's a blast to fly.  I'm not going to create a post about every feature I love, and trust me, they would outweigh the criticisms.  Instead I post about the things I would like to see improved.  The fact that I purchased a $70 prop aircraft should attest to the fact that I love PMDG's work.  So I apologize to all the devs if it comes across as me being disappointed with the product as a whole.  

 

Having said that.  I think Don Quixote's suggestion could work.  Have a few switches "stick" in position, almost like they do now, but separately.  This would allow the sequence of events to more closely follow the operation manual.  Instead of looking out the window and watching the props spin, we could use sound, or just a general amount of time after the start is engaged before engaging the ignition.  

 

P.S. Thanks for your patience Kyle. 

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Instead of looking out the window and watching the props spin, we could use sound, or just a general amount of time after the start is engaged before engaging the ignition.  

 

There could also be an optional 2D panel with all required switches etc., so the pilot's view could be towards the props, while all the actions are done on the 2D panel.

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